After rather a lot of experimenting, tasting and expanding waistlines this is our favourite Christmas Cake for 2015. Soaking the fruit in a mixture of Mike's Traditional Dark Mild Ale and orange juice may sound rather radical but don't be afraid to try it. It's really good.
This cake is another variation on the Heavenly Fruit Cake in Everyday Easy Eats, a great collection of recipes from Friends of Balmoral School. It is so incredibly easy and unlike many Christmas cakes can be eaten straightaway.
Being one of those hurry up kind of cooks I can never wait to soak the fruit overnight so the microwave came in handy to plump it up (if you do this it is important to let the soaked fruit cool down completely after microwaving before adding the other ingredients,)
1kg of dried fruit (I used Tasti)
70 gm of macadamia nuts ( 1/2 cup)
250 gm of Whittaker's Hazelnut Chocolate
1 cup of Mike's Traditional Dark Mild Ale
1 cup of freshly squeezed tangelo/orange juice.
2 cups of selfraising flour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Pour the ale and tangelo/orange juice over the fruit.
Either leave to fruit to soak overnight or if in a hurry heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. Leave until completely cold.
Beat the eggs lightly and stir in.
Whizz the chocolate and macademia nuts briefly in the food processor until roughly chopped/ or do this by hand.
Stir in the beaten eggs.
Add all the other ingredients and mix briefly.
Line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper.
Add the cake mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with baking paper and bake for another 15 minutes.
Test to see if done.
(Ovens vary and I thought it could still do with a little longer. So I kept my cake covered with baking paper, turned the oven down to 150 degrees C and baked for a further 15 minutes.
Leave to cool before eating. In this hot weather store in the fridge so the chocolate doesn't melt.
It also freezes well. In fact if taken straight from the freezer you can slice it more easily with a sharp knife.
I made it again the day before Christmas and had run out of Ale, but I replaced it with half a cup of Mike's Chocolate Milk Stout and 1/2 cup of water which was equally good.